July 7, 2021

Making pay transparency a reality

Why we called out Charity Village

July 7, 2021

Recently, FoodShare published an open letter to job posting website Charity Village, calling on them to require compensation information on all employment opportunities they advertise. 

FoodShare is a food justice organization which Katie German, Director of Advocacy and Programs, explains “means that foundational to our approach is working to advance racial and gender justice.” When compensation details are kept secret, structural inequalities remain in place. German cites the gender wage gap (in Canada women overall earn 76.8 cents for every dollar men do) and highlights that “for racialized women the gap is even wider — it’s in the 50 cent range compared to white men.”

German says that is why FoodShare has made significant improvements to its pay structure—with a transparent pay grid listed on the organization’s website, a three to one ratio cap between the highest and lowest paid employee and most recently becoming a Living Wage employer where the minimum wage is at least $22.08/hour (the cost of getting by in Toronto). 

Piggybacking on the growing #ShowTheSalary hashtag and hoping to move the dial beyond their own office, German along with colleagues on the FoodShare senior leadership team (Executive Director Paul Taylor, Senior Director Laëtitia Eyssartel and Finance Director Gloria Padilla) authored the letter and committed to not posting jobs on Charity Village until the policy of not making salary information mandatory is changed. 

More than 85 organizations and 300 individuals from across Canada signed on to endorse the letter, including The Sprott Foundation and Greenpeace Canada, and German says more are continuing to roll in. 

Screenshot from IG: YES!!!! I also feel like questions around pay expectations that are asked when you submit your application are super psychologically exploitative, especially to minoritized folks who are already taught to underestimate their value
Screenshot from IG: Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. I can't count the number of jobs that I have applied for and interviewed for only to learn the wages they were offering (for roles that required 5-8 years of experience) wouldn't cover my Toronto rent, my TTC monthly pass, and my student loan every month with enough money left over for groceries, my medical expenses and my phone bill when I lived in the city.
Screenshot from IG: *clapping hands emojis* Keeping the information secret also leads to a lot of wasted time for both those offering and those pursuing the job!
Comments of support on a recent FoodShare Instagram post calling on Charity Village to #ShowTheSalary and require compensation info on all job postings.

For Allison Venditti of Moms at Work, a networking and advocacy organization for working mothers, adding their support to the initiative was a no brainer; they’ve been talking pay equity and salary transparency for a long time. “It is important for an organization that targets companies and non-profits like Charity Village to walk the walk. How can you profit off an entire industry that is there to support the disenfranchised and those most in need? It doesn’t make any sense,” Venditti says. 

Canadian Roots Exchange, also signed on to the letter. “Not disclosing the hiring salary is a predatory HR practice based on the idea that an employer can get the best candidate for the least amount of money possible,” says their Chief Operating Officer Tristan Smyth. As an Indigenous charity that runs employment readiness programming for youth across the country, Smyth says “we regularly see the lack of pay transparency creating a power imbalance that reinforces systems of oppression, thus devaluing the labour of Indigenous, female, and/or racialized youth.” 

Gilad Cohen, Founder and Executive Director of JAYU, an organization focussed on using art to promote human rights, agrees. “For too long, workers in the non-profit sector have remained in the dark when it comes to wages, creating an environment where current and incoming employees feel powerless, where they end up accepting jobs for less pay, and where employers are not held accountable to fair wages for everyone,” says Cohen. 

He says pay transparency is not only beneficial to workers and the non-profit sector as a whole, “but a necessity to dismantle oppressive frameworks that continue to disproportionately impact equity-seeking populations.”  

Vu Le, a former non-profit leader and the writer behind the popular blog and resource Non-Profit AF, has been calling this out and says, “our sector’s goal is to advance a more just and equitable world. It’s counterproductive and hypocritical of us to claim to be doing that while perpetuating practices we know are inequitable.”

He says he’s seen movement in this area since writing about the issue with pay in the non-profit sector back in 2015. “I’m seeing a lot more job postings with salary information included. I’m also seeing more employers taking action when they are given feedback to show the salary.”

The open letter calls on Charity Village to “act on your own advice here,” referencing an article on the site titled “In everyone’s best interest: why you should disclose salary in your job postings” that includes the facts that fewer than half of the job postings on their site indicate a salary range and that not posting a salary range is an equity issue. 

So far, in response to these criticisms Charity Village has continued to put the onus on individual users to indicate compensation details if they choose, but German says “that’s simply not good enough. This should not be an optional field. It’s a quick and easy fix that would make a big difference to the sector and to people’s ability to get by.” 

In the meanwhile, Le isn’t waiting for sites like Charity Village to get their act together. He’s appealing to individual employers on Twitter to update their ads, like this one to the Omaha Foundation on June 24: “Hi @omahafoundation I noticed you didn’t disclose the salary range. Please have a policy to always #ShowTheSalary, as not doing so perpetuates racial and gender wage gaps. Thank you!” 

“I hope that employers who get called out recognize the inequity they are contributing to, and change their practices. And I hope eventually disclosing salaries is so commonplace that we won’t need to call anyone out,” says Le. 

For Moms at Work, the ultimate goal here in Ontario is making compensation information required by law. “Ontario has Pay Transparency Legislation written and currently sitting in consultation. All it needs is to be put back in and it will become law,” Venditti explains.

“There’s a LOT of good stuff in that legislation and it’s just sitting there,” German says. For now, she says she hopes to see Charity Village make a change without the weight of the law. “Ultimately, what we want to see is a principle of equal pay for equal work.”

Read our open letter to Charity Village 

Join the call for transparency in compensation for jobs posted on the site